SHERIDAN — Sending players from a junior college to Division 1 carries with it a bittersweet feeling for Sheridan College coaches.
Lady Generals head volleyball coach Jennifer Stadler knows Carley Gerving is a player that will be missed, but at the same time Gerving has finally reached her goal.
After verbally committing earlier this fall, the outside hitter Gerving officially signed with Division 1 South Dakota State University volleyball Thursday afternoon at the college.
“She was just one of those players that it didn’t matter what you asked her to do, she was going to give you everything that she had,” Stadler said Thursday. “She always asked for extra reps, always came in and did whatever she had to do to get better. She’s just grown so much as not only a player, but as a person over the last two years.”
Gerving was the Lady Generals lone All-Conference selection this season, and was also selected to the Region IX All-Tournament Team.
“She’ll be greatly missed — not only the presence she left out on the court but also her personality and her energy that she brought to the program.”
Gerving’s development goes further back from the help Sheridan College provided, and it was something of a drawn out affair.
When she came to Sheridan College she had already moved between four different schools over four years. As a junior in high school, Carley attended Lead-Deadwood High School in her hometown of Deadwood, SD. — not a place that’s known for producing Division 1 volleyball players.
She played her senior year at Rapid City Stevens High School, one of the top volleyball programs in South Dakota. While she struggled with the speed of the game at first, she came into her own and received an offer from Black Hills State University.
Gerving redshirted her freshman year there, in 2011, but when a new coach came into the fold, she was told scholarship money was not available and she wouldn’t likely see court time the next year.
That’s when Sheridan College came into the picture. Before taking over coaching duties in Sheridan two years ago, Stadler was interim head coach at BHSU, and when Gerving was in high school Stadler was the one who signed her.
The connection brought Gerving to Sheridan, and from there, she improved as a player, growing an inch to 6-3, and embraced her potential as she led a the team from a 13-win season two years ago back to a 20-win season this past fall.
“There was definitely a change, I gained a lot of confidence from when I came in last year,” Gerving said of her year in Sheridan. “I gained a lot more skill.”
Coaches helped her realize her dream, through the ups and downs. She saw action in 38 matches as a freshman, finishing with 233 kills and 78 blocks. This year she had 383 kills and 101 blocks.
“They offer a lot,” She said of the SC program. “They have a lot of knowledge, they just really believe in you and that was a big thing for me. They helped me get my confidence.”
The SC program aims to help players in reaching their dreams, due to the fact that an opportunity like Division 1 isn’t always easy to find in a sport like volleyball where players sometimes aren’t visible to next-level coaches, or often aren’t ready for Division 1-level play right after high school.
“She has worked very hard to be able to play at the Division 1 level and we know that she will do great,” Stadler finished, “and we wish her and the Jackrabbits the best next season.”